Mick targets New Year return to action

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 04 March 2010

EAGLE-eyed local football followers will have spotted Ipswich-based Simon Long running the line in Sunday's televised FA Cup second round tie between Histon and Leeds United.

EAGLE-eyed local football followers will have spotted Ipswich-based Simon Long running the line in Sunday's televised FA Cup second round tie between Histon and Leeds United.

Simon is also referees' development officer for Suffolk Football Association and he is one of four officials from Suffolk who act as assistant referees in the Football League.

The other three are Matt Stewart (Ipswich), who has moved from Harwich, Richard Beevor (Bungay) and Adrian Sannerude (Carlton Colville).

Mick Thorpe remains the only Suffolk referee who takes charge of games in the Football League. But he is having a frustrating time at the moment as he has been out of action since October with an Achilles problem. And he is not expected to be back until the New Year.

“I had problems with my Achilles three or four years ago,” said Mick, who lives at Martlesham.

“Although I was getting through matches I was hardly able to walk afterwards and have done no running for five weeks.

“I pounded the streets last weekend and felt some reaction although I hope to be back in the New Year.”

Mick, who will have to take a fitness test before he can return to the Football League list, has been spending some of his Saturday afternoons advising class three Ipswich-based Carl Fitch.

Carl is only in his early twenties but is already on the Blue Square Premier line and the Ryman League middle.

He could follow Mick on to the Football League referees' with the latter saying: “Carl had a bit of a tough year last year - his first at his current level.

“But he is developing well and I saw a recent game he had at Heybridge.”

At the sharp end of the Football Association 'Respect' campaign, Mick said he is not certain it will work.

“Yes, there has been some improvement in players' behaviour, but at the end of the day red mist is going to descend at times whatever the good intentions.”

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